I was having a conversation with some ladyfriends recently and we were discussing shopping, and the holidays, and what we pay for things. Or more, what we would be willing to pay for things. Since I’ve started sewing, which none of my friends do, really, I don’t actually buy much clothing anymore. I buy jersey tops, jeans, underwear and shoes. And the rare sweater, but I tend to get most of those at thrift stores or vintage shops. Still, I browse enough websites and window shop enough to be kept abreast of what is out there and what it all costs. And of course, I turn to many a shop for inspiration/blatant copy-catting. ANYway, we were discussing buying stuff and what seems reasonable to us and we all came to the conclusion that this is completely relative.
For example, say you love a top. And this top is typically 100 dollars, it’s from Anthropologie or what have you and it’s lovely and out of your price range. Then the top goes on sale. Awesome. But the sale price is 40 dollars. Now, on one level, this is a 60% discount, I mean, that’s amazing. But on another level, that’s still 40 dollars, not exactly a deal. Or is it? Because of course that all depends on your budget and your salary and your socio-economic background and what you grew up with and what, really, when you say reasonable, you really mean.
But what does any of this have to do with sewing and crafting, you might be asking yourself. Well, the question I really want to ask is, how much would you pay for fabric? What seems reasonable to you? What seems cheap? And what, if anything, is too much to pay?
This is a question I’ve been considering for a long time, and it’s one that finally came to head this past weekend when I sojourned up to New York to shop in the Garment District with my friend Michael, and see Punchdrunk’s mind-blowing performance piece Sleep No More (which I will soon be blogging about over here, so jump over in the next few days, if you are interested). I should at this point mention that when it comes to fabric, I love nothing so much as a bargain. I tend to do most of my shopping here, in Philadelphia, scouring Jomar and Fabric Row, poking around dusty little shops and annoying surly fabric cutters with my questions. That’s just how I roll. I enjoy the hunt, the search for something special and inexpensive among all the rubble. So I don’t spend a whole lot of time in the garment district, in fact, this was my first ever trip to buy fabric.
I met up with Michael,
who works at a little brand called Theory, at the famous big button that has become the icon of the New York Garment District.
May I just point out that this button would be useless? It has five holes. That’s foolish.
Our first stop, after a catch up session, was at the notorious B and J Fabrics. Which is magnificent. And, like most things in New York, so expensive that you feel like you might actually have to pay to breathe.
However, the selection is magnificent. MAGNIFICENT.
Look at that. 85 a yard. Like you do.
Silk jersey for a mere 53 a yard. It’s practically a bargain!
I also got to see Liberty of London fabrics in person for the very first time. And I have to say, they may be made of cotton, but they FEEL like they are made of clouds. And sunshine. And happiness. Sigh.
But for all this, I didn’t buy a damn thing at B and J. Why? Well, frankly, I just can’t justify that to myself. Can you?
But I did treat myself to this silk darling at Mood. Which is also awesome. And a hell of a lot friendlier.
Oh, this thing is luscious. It’s a panel, and it’s awesome, and I think I know what I want to do with it (blouse, duh). And, now that I think of it, at 14 dollars a yard it’s the most I’ve ever paid per yard in my life. What? I told you I was cheap!
I also picked up so other treasures, mostly at Paron’s, whose sale Annex is my new best friend, but you will just have to wait around to see those. But you CAN see how happy I was (am) with my big bag of fabric:
Or maybe it was just the Old Fashioned I enjoyed.
In total I purchased about 12 yards of fabric (BAD Leah) for, on average, 7 dollars a yard (GOOD Leah). And for me, that’s rather high. So what would you pay for fabric? Do you have expensive tastes, or are you all about the thrift store finds and vintage sheets? Do you see fabric as an investment? What do you consider to be a good deal? I’m honestly curious, here, no judgement! As long as you don’t begrudge me my cheap thrills I promise not to make fun of your criminally expensive 4 ply-silk fetish. To each their own…